New Mexico hospital sends PPE, test kits to San Juan amid COVID-19 peak | KOB 4

New Mexico hospital sends PPE, test kits to San Juan amid COVID-19 peak

Faith Egbuonu
Created: May 12, 2020 06:31 PM

ROSWELL, N.M. — Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo sent 1,000 disposable medical gowns and 200 testing kits to San Juan Regional Medical center amid COVID-19.

With the demand for PPE at an all-time high, medical workers continue to risk their lives on the front lines of COVID-19—including San Juan; a county in Farmington hit hard by COVID-19.

Jim Heckert, the CEO of Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center, felt it was the least they can do, given the decent amount of PPE they currently have at their medical center.

“I had 10,000 gowns,” Heckert said. “There’s a timing issue and San Juan was definitely in the thick of their COVID peak. The supply chains are inconsistent and so we felt we needed to help them; when we have something in hand and they’re down to two days’ worth, we need to do something.”

“They were very limited in isolation gowns, and so we sent them 1,000—just sent it to them and had it to them in a half of a day, because of their peak,” Heckert said. “Same sort of situation in the lab where we both have two lab machines called Cepheid that provides a 45 minute PCR test, which is really state of the art. They were getting low on that, so we sent them 200 kits for that as well to help them determine quickly the status of their patients on admission to the hospital.”

Heckert said the fast COVID results provided from the Cepheid kits prevents medical staff from exhausting PPE faster than they normally would without them.

“You want to know what your patients are before you put them in a bed, right,” he said. “ Even in our hospital, once we receive a patient, we put them in a separate unit, we wouldn’t mix them with general population. So in order to that—you have to know what their status is.”

According to New Mexico Department of Health, as of Monday, there are 1,149 positive cases for COVID-19 in San Juan County and 73 reported deaths.

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